Sunday, May 27, 2007

A few more pictures...

First, a thank you to those who have contacted me about the Opal Creek™ Photo Sale. Please continue to support Opal Creek and its work. Please continue to support art and the artists! Opal Creek truly is Oregon's Uncut Gem.

And speaking of support...

These next few pictures were taken just this last week at a "new" park about a mile from our house. The kids in the neighborhood call it "the Pits."

Its real name is Golden Garden Park. But it wasn't always a park. There was a time when it was a mess. When it was just some old gravel pits that filled with water every winter. And those pits occasionally became drowning pools. The drowning of two cousins in the Pits on Father's Day, 2005 changed everything. Ben Myers, in the Eugene Weekly:

Golden Gardens Park, a 46.8-acre parcel on Eugene's northwestern tip, did not look much like a park in June. The land was mixture of prairie brush, unkempt paths, blackberry brambles and a crumbling road. Plastic bottles and cigarette butts littered the overgrown trails, and a storm drainage channel separated three large, debris-filled ponds. The only fresh sign of park-hood was an unfinished, quarter-mile bark jogging trail. Still, the sun glimmered on the calm pond water while birds and crickets out-chirped distant city sounds. It was easy to imagine that the park could be a gem someday.

A visit in early September reveals a new place: the grass is mowed, the brush is cleared, there are picnic tables and trash cans, and an emergency-access bridge straddles the drainage channel. These changes were driven by Friends of Golden Gardens Park, a citizen group that emerged last March in response to the drownings of two teenage cousins on Father's Day 2005.

The deaths of Nick Davis and Brittan Shephard-Davis were not the first at Golden Gardens.

My kids travel through the park on their way to school or home from school and had been telling me I should "check it out." So a couple of weeks ago I paid it a visit walking with my daughter in the early a.m. on her way to school. What I saw compelled me to return with my camera. The park is clean. Birds are everywhere, geese and ducks, great blue herons and redwing blackbirds, swallows and osprey, blad eagles... and it is spring so flowers are blooming. Wild lupine and California poppies are abundant, the grass is mowed and the park is quiet. Early in the morning a neighbor walks his dog, a jogger runs on the bark mulch covered path... robins sing and buzzards cruise unflapping overhead.

Still a bit raw, a diamond in the rough, there remains more work to be done at the Park. But the City of Eugene is limited in its resources for parks. Lane County is cash strapped and thinking of closing some of its parks. That is why Golden Garden Park struck a chord with me. It is a large urban park with housing on the south side and grass farms on the other 3 sides... it seems larger than the nearly 50 acres it encompasses.

It has history and tragedy. It was once a neglected hazard and it took the loss of two young lives to change it from a derelict open space to a charming and potentially awesome facility. I plan to keep my eye on it, follow it photographically through the seasons and maybe through its growth over the years.

I appreciate the efforts of the neighbors, the city parks crew, the corporate supporters who all donated time and resources in changing blight to beauty. It is in actions like this that I see reasons for me not to give up on the human race completely. We can do great things but for me it is in these acts of cooperation that we take the sublime and mundane, the everyday take-it-for-granted leftovers of community and polish them into items of beauty.

Golden Garden Parks deserves that kind of attention and if what I see through my eyes and camera lenses is any indication, one day Eugene will have a fine and beautiful facility it can point to and be proud of creating AS a community. And in working as community we find that we ourselves have a beauty that is radiant and wonderful. I have my doubts but I also have my hopes...

Golden Garden Parks:

Post a Comment